Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Our Week in Review (June 18th-25th)

What a week!

Last Sunday, June 18th was Father's Day.  My mom and dad were flying in from Florida to spend the week.  We were still waiting on the appearance of Baby Liam, and if he didn't arrive by Monday night, they were going to start an induction because he was overdue.  After church we had lunch and I started cleaning up when my phone rang.  It was Chelsea who thought her water had broken.  Off to the hospital Art and I went leaving Nick to babysit until my mom and dad could get there.

I am not going to give all the details, because it would be long and complicated and it's really not my story, it's Chelsea's.  But, labor was not progressing very quickly and the baby's heart rate was not staying stable.  It dropped every time she had a contraction for quite awhile.  We got passed that issue but when she started pushing it shot up very high.  She reached the 24 hour point from her water breaking and doctor's decided for the safety of baby and mama, a C-section was the best option.  After the C-section Liam (8 lbs 5 oz 21 inches) was running a fever of 101.7 and was having breathing issues.  Chelsea also ran fever.  That evening, Liam's fever and breathing regulated and she was able to hold and try to feed him. Early the next morning though, his breathing was very rapid and his temperature got very low.  He ended up having to stay in the care center in the nursery on IV fluids and antibiotics.  She could go in and hold him for a few minutes every few hours, but could not feed him.  Wednesday he was doing much better and could come to the room to be held and fed and Thursday they were able to take his IV's out.  Friday he was discharged!!  I spent almost the entire week at the hospital ( I did come home and sleep on Monday night and Thursday night and came home for a few hours Wednesday afternoon.)  Chelsea and Liam are staying with us for a few days until she heals well enough to tackle the large staircase leading up to her apartment.


My mom and dad took great care of the rest of my children and ran them where they needed to go.  I was supposed to be at the 4 H District Competition on Tuesday, but could not go.  Alex and Christian went and competed.  It was Christian's first time competing and he got a participation ribbon in Bait Casting.  Alex won 2nd place in Sports Fishing.



Wednesday Alex headed for 4 H camp.  When he came home on Friday, we headed to town for a tour of Husqvarna.  They were having an Open House and the children really wanted to see where their daddy worked.  They also had food, balloons, snow cones, and a police dog demonstration. I didn't take many photos, just of the children in their daddy's office.  They really enjoyed it.  We also grabbed some groceries and when we got home, Chelsea and the baby were there.  We had promised the children we could go see a movie with nana and papa while they were here, so Saturday we went and saw Cars 3.  We loved it!

I hope you had a great week!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Homeschool Planet

Homeschool Buyers Co-op


Are you familiar with Homeschool Buyer's Co-op? Homeschool Buyer's Co-op is the largest buyer's club for homeschooling families. They give homeschoolers great deals on great products by purchasing them as group buys. They also offer a variety of free and useful resources. Joining the co-op is free. Recently we were offered an opportunity to review their home/homeschool planner Homeschool Planet.
Homechool Planet

Homeschool Planet is on online planner for your home and school.  You do not need to download anything on your computer to use Homeschool Planet, it works online through an internet connection.  With Homeschool Planet you can customize your planner to make it work for you.  You can add and schedule classes and assignments, count your school days, track your grades, log your hours, and create a transcript. You can add in all your outside activities and when each one takes place.  You can also add in chores, create and send shopping lists, meal plan, schedule appointments, and so much more.  Anything you need to plan or schedule can be done with Homeschool Planet.

Each member of the family can have their own separate log in and will be able to log in and check off their completed tasks. Digest emails can be sent daily or weekly o each log in  to let you know what is on your schedule.  If there are times that you would rather have a printed copy of your schedule in front of you, you are able to print it out in black and white.

Homeschool Planet has a calendar view that allows you to see everyone's schedule at once, or a planner view that shows a list of what you need to do.  It also has a resource view that shows all the books, DVDs, and other resources that you are using for your lessons.

Homeschool Planet offers a 30 day free trial.  At the end of the free trial it costs $65 a year or $6.95 a month.  For the month of June when you sign up for a free trial, you will get a lesson plan of your choice for free!  There are many plans to choose from and all of the lessons get put into Homeschool Planet for you!

I reviewed Homeschool Planet a few years ago.  I loved how easy it was to use and how many capabilities it has!  When I set up my account for this review, all of my information was saved.  That was awesome!  I did not have to add the children or classes and activities again. 

My favorite features of Homeschool Planet is the ability to customize your schedule however you need to.  You can color code your activities and classes so you can easily see which is which.  You can set up your weekly schedule.  I use a 4 day schedule rather then a 5 day and that was so easy to do.  You can block out your vacation days or days off.  The biggest plus is that if you don't get to an assignment or you have a sick child and take a day off you can easily move your lessons forward!  You cannot do that with a paper planner.

The new lessons plans are amazing!  I received a free lesson plan for The Mystery of History Vol 1.  It was so easy to set it up.  I could choose what days each week I wanted to use it and it put all of the assignments in for me.  I did not have to type anything in! But you can edit the lessons if you need to, to add in extra resources or take away items you are not going to complete.  I was very impressed with the selection of lesson plans to choose from and they are planning on adding more.


If you are looking for a planner for your home and school I suggest you check out the free trial of Homeschool Planet!

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: UnLock Math

UnLock Math

Math is one of those subjects in this house.  A few of my children have found math to be very easy.  Others have found it incredibly challenging, and a few of the children just plain struggle with math.  I was looking for a new math curriculum for my 13 year old son and was excited to have an opportunity to use and review UnLock Pre-Algebra from UnLock Math.



UnLock Math pre-algebra
UnLock Math is an online math curriculum that is accessed through a web browser.  Once your child logs in, they are taken to their dashboard which shows the list of lessons in their course, their progress, their average, and their unit progress. They can also access a grade book and course progress report from the dashboard.  As the student completes each unit the symbol beside the unit changes from a purple locked button to a blue unlocked button.  Each of the lessons follows a similar format starting with a warm up, followed by a video lesson, practice problems, stay sharp questions, and a challenge question.  They are also able to print out the reference notes for each lesson.

UnLock Math courses are graded automatically.  The warm up exercises do not count as part of the grade.  Practice problems count for 30 % of the grade and students can redo those.  The best grade is recorded. Stay Sharp questions are worth 10%. Challenge Questions give students a 5 % bonus if they get them correct but do not count against them if they are incorrect.  Quizzes count as 15 % and also can be redone if needed. Unit Tests count as 30 % and also can be taken more then once.  The Mid-Term is worth 5% and the final exam is worth 10 %.  They also can be taken multiple times.

Subscriptions for UnLock Math cost $49 a month or $299 per year.  They offer a 50 % discount for siblings.  UnLock Math offers courses in Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry.  Pre-Calculus is set to release in 2018 and Calculus in 2019.   There is a demo lesson you can view to see how the course works.

UnLock Pre-Algebra has 15 units:

Whole Numbers
Integers
Variables and Expressions
Rational Numbers
Fractions
Equations
Inequalities
The Coordinate Plane
Decimals
Percent
Polynomials
Triangles
2D Geometry
3D Geometry
Analyzing Data
Probability and Statistics

Each lesson takes around 30 minutes to complete. If you follow the suggested pacing guide, the course can be completed in 159 days which is 32 weeks if you follow a 5 day a week schedule or 40 weeks if you follow a 4 day a week schedule.

Here is a screen shot of part of Alex's dashboard. This is what he sees when he logs in. 





You click on the rocket of the unit you are working on and that takes you to this page.  The lessons get unlocked as they are completed.  All of the lessons are on the lest side of the page and the quizzes and test are on the right side of the page.


Once you click on your lesson you are taken to this page.  All they have to do is follow the path for each lesson. 



When they are working on the problems, only one problem is shown on the screen at a time.



The Gradebook reports show what day and time students completed a lesson, how long they spent on each part of the lesson, how many questions in the section and how many were correct. You also have the ability to click on the details button and see what each question was, how your student responded, and the detailed explanations.




I used the same math curriculum for many years, and it worked well for my two oldest children, but not so well for the others. So last year I made a change.  Alex wanted something that was on the computer.  He is a visual and kinesthetic learner.  We chose a popular computer math program and I did not go well.  He was frustrated with it every day and it took him forever to complete his math assignments.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to try UnLock Pre-Algebra. 

I love the way the course is laid out.  It is very easy to see what you have done and how you are doing as you progress through the course.  I love the way the lessons are laid out.  Constant review is built in to the lessons.  The lessons videos are wonderful.  The instructor, Alesia Blackwood, is very enthusiastic about what she is teaching, and it shows.  I love that you see the instructor and that she is working out actual problems on a whiteboard while she is teaching.  She uses a lot of real life examples and visuals (like a number line) in her examples.  When the student is working on the problems, there is only one problem at a time on the screen.  This enables them to focus just on that problem and not worry about what it ahead.  The screen is free of distractions.  If the student gets an answer incorrect, they can see a detailed step by step explanation of the problem so they know what they did wrong and how to do it correctly the next time.

As a busy homeschool mom, I love that not only the teaching is done by someone else, but I do not have to grade a thing!  That is one thing I am not always great at and if you get behind in looking over your child's math and they are doing something wrong, they now have to unlearn what they have been doing wrong.  I love that UnLock Math takes care of that for me automatically and that I can see very quickly what has been completed and exactly what he got right and wrong. 

I had one problem with a technical issue during the course of this review, and I sent an email to ask about it.  Within 24 hours I received a response and a solution was soon to follow.  Good customer service is very important when using an online course.

UnLock Math wants your child to be successful in math!  I have been very impressed with this course!

Members of The Crew reviewed all of the current available levels of UnLock Math.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


Homeschool Crew Review: Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series

Adventures of Rush Revere
I spend a lot of time reading aloud to my children.  We recently were offered an opportunity from
Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh to read and review the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series.

Adventures of Rush Revere
The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series features substitute teacher Rush Revere and his talking, time traveling horse, Liberty.  In each of the books, Rush, Liberty, and some middle school students experience history first hand by traveling back in time, going to famous places in history and meeting important people.  Throughout each of these hardcover books you will find illustrations and historical documents.

The first book in the series is Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.  In this book, Rush, Tommy, and Freedom along with Liberty the horse, see first hand how the Pilgrims came to the new world.  They saw the building of the colony and had an opportunity to meet people like Miles Standish, William Bradford, Squanto, and Samoset.  They also attended the first Thanksgiving.

The second book is Rush Revere and the First Patriots.  In this book Rush and his crew travel back to Boston in 1765 where they have an opportunity to see the beginnings of America's fight for independence and meet famous people such as Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry.  They also visit Windsor Castle in England, meet King George III, and have to stop a plan of one of the kids to change the course of history.

Rush Revere and the American Revolution is book 3.  In this book, we travel back to 1775 and meet Americans such as George Washington, Paul Revere, and John Hancock.  We see famous landmarks like the Old North Church, Bunker Hill, Lexington, and Concord.  These events take on a special meaning to Cam, whose father has been deployed to Afghanistan in the modern day.

Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner is the 4th book.  The crew rushes off to history starting in 1787, meeting James Madison and seeing debates over the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Fast forward a few years as Dolly saves an important portrait from the White House.  In 1814 they end up on a British Ship, and meet Francis Scott Key.

Book Five is called Rush Revere and the Presidency.  When Cam decides to run for student body president, Rush Revere and Liberty take him back in time to see presidents and first ladies Washington, Adams, and Jefferson to learn from them and defeat an old nemesis in the election.

I read aloud Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims to my 6,8, 10, 11, and 13 year olds, and read through the remaining books in the series on my own.  We enjoy reading historical fiction type stories because I think they are a great way to bring history to life.  I was very impressed when my package arrived.  The books were all tied together with a beautiful blue ribbon and looked so pretty I didn't want to untie it!

I did of course.  The quality of the books are impressive.  They are heavy hardcover books with thick sturdy pages.  I personally think the oversized head on Rush Revere's body is silly, but love the inclusion of the historical drawings, documents, and illustrations in the book.

The story itself interested the children as soon as I started reading.  Most children would find a talking, time traveling horse who can also turn invisible and freeze time very interesting. Through reading this series children get a first hand look at many events that happened in history.  I even learned some things I didn't know.  While reading Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, there was a mention of some boys that shot off a fire arm on the boat and the children asked me if that really happened.  We googled it and discovered it did in fact happen as well as some other incidents involving the same family. We found that very interesting!

One thing that bothers the children is the fact that Rush and the others interact with the people they are traveling to see.  They even gave and received gifts and Rush offered advice about some things.  At one point Rush talks to the children traveling with them about not changing history by interfering in what is going on, but my family believes just their presence and interacting with the people would have changed history and messed up the space time continuum. They are a pretty logical bunch.  There is also a lot of conversations between Liberty and Rush and the kids that I don't think adds anything to the story and could've been left out.

We are studying American History next year and the children have already asked about when I will be reading the other books in the series aloud, so we will be adding the rest of the books to our evening read aloud list.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Review: An Amish Home by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Ruth Reid



"Book Description :

A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman—Sarah Lantz always dreamed of the perfect home, the perfect husband, the perfect family. When she married Abram, she knew she was on her way to securing her perfect life. All of that changes in one moment when an accident leaves her unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair, dashing all of her dreams. As Abram starts to transform their home, Sarah begins a transformation in her spirit, and she begins, once again, to see her cup as half full.

Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston—Down on their luck and desperate after they are evicted from their small apartment, Chace and Mia O’Conner reluctantly take Chace’s Amish boss up on his offer to rent them the daadihaus located on his property. They are certain they will never feel at home in the rustic cabin without any modern conveniences, and they start to blame each other for their seemingly hopeless situation. But with the help of their new Amish friends, Chace and Mia begin to enjoy their cozy cabin and realize that home really is where the heart is.

Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller—Faith Miller knows that carpentry is an unlikely hobby for a young Amish woman, but she loves the work and it keeps the memory of her grandfather alive. So when her cousin asks Faith to build the cabinets in her new home, Faith is only too happy to take on the job, even if it is the most ambitious project she has ever taken on. The only catch is that she has to work with her ex-fiance, Silas. As they work to build Martha’s kitchen, can they put the past behind them and start to build faith in one another again?

A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid—Fifteen years ago, Thomas and Noreen King were blissful newlyweds. Young, naive, and in love, life was rosy . . . for a while. Then trials and tribulations rocked their foundation, shattering them emotionally, and soon, their marriage was in shards. All hope for restoring their previously unshakable union seems lost. When fire destroys their home, Thomas and Noreen are left to sift through the rubble. As uncovered items from the remains of the house shake loose memories of the past, Thomas and Noreen begin to draw closer and a flicker of hope—and love—is re-ignited."

I have read several of the books in the series and have also enjoyed other books by the authors as well.  An Amish Home is a collection of 4 stories that center around the Amish Home.  But, these Amish Homes are not what you consider typical.  Each of the characters face different challenges that cause them to change their ideas of what their home and lives should be like and that they needed to show love and support for each other no matter the circumstances, and put their faith in God.  Each one of these stories was uplifting and hopeful and it made for a nice easy read.  Each story is not a full length book, but rather a short novella at around 100 pages.  You do not get the same insight into all of the characters and their situations like you do in a full length novel, but the authors do a great job completing the story in the time they have.  It is hard to choose a favorite, but A Cup Half Full really touched my heart.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations.

Homeschool Crew Review: Apologia's Internship for High School Credit

Apologia Educational Ministries

I have used many, many products from Apologia Educational Ministries over the 12 years that I have been homeschooling.  They are very well known for their science and Bible curriculum, but also have a variety of other products including language arts, government, homeschooling helps, and electives.  Our latest review from Apologia is Internship for High School Credit.


Internship for High School Credit
Internships can be a great way for high school students to explore a career path to gain more knowledge in a particular field, learn from hands on experience, and make a decision about whether or not it might be a career they would like to pursue.  Working as an intern can also give students an advantage when applying for college or future employment. Students can also earn high school credits while they are working on a internship. 

Apologia's Internship for High School Credit ($33), is a workbook that will help guide parents and students through the Internship Process.  The book is a spiral bound page book with sections for the both the parent and student to read as well as workbook pages for the student to fill out as they are working through the internship.  The book has tips and suggestions for searching for a place to do an internship in different fields and practical suggestions for what to wear and how to act at an interview.   There are many suggestions for writing a resume and a sample for you to follow.  For parents you will find suggestions for meeting and interviewing the people who will be working with your child and suggestions for recording their internship on their high school transcripts.  There are also many encouraging and helpful quotes throughout the book and tips for being successful.

Once you have an internship, the workbook pages will help you record your work.  There is a worksheet to list your specific goals, worksheets to log your hours and dates worked and questions and activities for each week of the semester such as: What are the reasons you chose this field for an internship?  How are you enjoying your work experience? Make a list of terminology used in the workplace.  There is a midterm work performance worksheet for your employer to fill out and an end of semester work performance sheet.  There is a skills gained worksheet for you to record new experiences and opportunities.The assignments for the second semester are a bit more in depth and involve several different writing assignments that need to be completed on separate pieces of paper or typed on a computer.The course wrap up includes a sample thank you note to write to your employer, tips for asking for a letter of recommendation and for updating your resume.

I currently have one student in high school and another that will be next year and may be considering having my sons look for internship opportunities in the future.  I found the Internship for High School Credit book full of helpful information both for the parent and the student.  I especially appreciated the sample resume because it gave good information about how to write a resume for a student that does not have much of a work history.  The included worksheets are a wonderful resource for a student to use as they go through their internship and also will help document what they have done and how many hours they spent for the purpose of recording that information in the student's transcript.  Internship for High School Credit is a wonderful, affordable resource for homeschooling families with high school students.

Members of the Crew also reviewed How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Week in Review (June 5-11)

This week was Vacation Bible School at our church.  Our theme was Hero Central, Discover Your Strength in God. Each day the children learned that God's Heroes have Heart, Courage, Wisdom, Hope, and Power and their verse was Do Good, Seek Peace, and Go After It!  Each day the children had music in the opening and closing, heard a Bible story, made a snack, played games, made crafts, and had a science lesson all revolving around the theme of the day.

Nicholas was the recreation leader this year.  Alex was the story leader.  Chelsea and I did the science station.  This was a change for me. I usually am the adult volunteer that leads the preschoolers to all of the stations.  But when our committee was choosing our Bible School curriculum last February and there was a Science Station leader guide, it was something I really wanted to do ( I love science!)and the others all thought it would be a great addition to our Bible School.



Each day had 2 experiments listed.  There were two days that I was afraid the activities we had would not last long enough and I brought two extra experiments.  Each of the science lessons were based on the Bible story from that day.  All of the children seemed really excited about the science lessons and wanted to participate in everything I did. I even had youth that came over each day to see what we were doing.  I am glad they had fun with the science and hope that they made the connection to the Bible lessons!  We had 5 groups of children from Pre-k-5th grade.

Day 1 we did a sinking and floating experiment and we did different mixtures of baking soda, soap, and vinegar.



Day 2 we did an experiment with magnets and pushed straws through potatoes.




Day 3 we made pillars of strength and did an optical illusion.  Those we short so I also did color changing milk.



Day 4 we blew sock bubbles (this is really cool but make sure they don't breath the soap in!!) using water bottles with the bottom cut off, a sock over top, and dipping in a mixture of Dawn dish soap and water.  We also did the leak proof bag.  I had a child ask me if a could make a cloud, so I did a cloud in a jar.






Day 5 we did an experiment with a ping pong ball, paper towel tube and hair dryer, and made rainbows that melted ice using rock salt colored with food coloring.





Bible School lasts from 9-12, so I had to get up by 6:30 every morning and head out of the house by 8:15.  We got back home around 12:30 each day.  Monday and Thursday I had to take Chelsea up to the doctor after Bible school.  Wednesday I had a horrific headache all day so I crashed on the couch after VBS was over.  Tuesday we did do a little bit of school work.  The younger children did k5, Alex did a few lessons of UnLock Math, and we watched a lesson of Doctor Aviation.  Friday we took down decorations at church and went grocery shopping. Saturday I was very glad to have a day to stay home!  We did a lot of inside and outside work.

VBS is exhausting for the kids too!  This was Emmie at 4:30 on Wednesday.


I hope you had a great week!